"Obviously the coin is not favorable for us," he said. "It seems to land on the right side for K.C. and D.C. United, whose president of one club and coach of the other have been on the executive committee of U.S. Soccer. Surprisingly. Being very frank, I think U.S. Soccer is trying to make it difficult for us to win an Open Cup. It’s almost like sometimes I get the feeling that they’d rather not see us win it again, for whatever reasons. Maybe they think it dilutes the value of the Cup or they’re getting pressure from some others that think Seattle can only win it because they’re playing at home.
"All that I know is you compare us and D.C., D.C. has played one away game since 2007. We’ve played a lot more away games … I know we were in Portland twice, just to think of that one. So it’s just something that’s there. I think that they’re making it difficult for us, but it’s like OK they can throw obstacles in the way, we’re going to try to jump over each of those hurdles, and I think we can, and maybe it gives us an us-against-the-world mentality a little bit, because I really think they’d prefer for someone else to win it."
A follow-up question was asked to clarify if he believes U.S. Soccer is simply rooting against the Sounders or actively working against the Sounders:
"I wouldn’t say working against us," he said. "A two-headed coin usually comes up heads. I don’t know. I’m not saying they’re using a two-headed coin. Nobody sees the coin-flip. Nobody’s there. But at the end of the day it’s just a sense that you have. It’s nothing that I can say yes or no. Dan Flynn is a good friend of mine; he’s the general secretary of U.S. Soccer. I can call Dan and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on.’ But that’s not the thing. I just get a sense that: ‘Hey, it would be nice if Seattle got upset somewhere.’
Never miss a local story.
Schmid was asked if the solution was a more public and transparent process.
"When I first came into MLS it was the same thing: There was not enough transparency," he said. "As the years have gone by there is a lot more transparency in the league, and it was something that we coaches always said: There’ got to be more transparency, you’ve got to let us see. And when you don’t have anything to hide, you can have transparency. It’s there for everybody to see. So it’s that coinflip, or whatever the case may be, or the draws. I can tell you stories – I won’t get into them – but there are stories where I’ve been involved in international soccer and it’s basically the seeding or the pairings of the games turned out exactly the way you wanted them to turn out. I don’t know how that happened – but it was supposedly random. So, when you do the FIFA draw, is one ball hot, one ball cold? Everybody’s speculating on all that over all the years. But the point is the more transparency you have the better it is for everybody, and again, I think it would be great for the tournament (to have a public draw).
"And this is all we’ve tried to do the whole way along, is I think we’ve tried to boost the Open Cup. And I think when you look at the attendance figures we’ve had at the finals, and so forth, I think the Open Cup is something now that as a soccer nation people are much more aware of. And they’re much more aware of the fact maybe because we’ve won three in a row and people now are rooting against us – just like people root against the Yankees when they were on their streaks, or the Celtics. If that’s what boosting it, or maybe it’s the amount of our fans that have come out and supported the game and all of a sudden there are big attendance numbers and the game has a good feel for it. … We played an Open Cup final with the Galaxy at Fullerton in front of 4,000 fans – against New England back in (2001). I mean, that didn’t create an event. And we’ve been able to create an event, and I think that’s boosted it. And I think having a draw, having a coin flip, and putting that on the website, further raises the stature of the sport. It’s a great story what Cal FC has done, what some of the other upsets have been. That’s what the Open Cup is all about. Everybody can have their opportunity and their day. And all of that is going to boost the recognition. Yeah, you get a chance to go into Champions League – and that’s guaranteed now. All of that is going to boost it. And that’s just another thing that would boost the recognition of the Open Cup, which I think is good for soccer.
"If what I’m saying appears negative: I’m not trying to be negative toward U.S. Soccer. What I’m trying to do is continue to raise the competition, or the awareness of the competition."